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Indiana Department of Environmental Management

Indiana Department of Environmental Management

Hoosier Riverwatch > Benthic Macroinvertebrate Resources Benthic Macroinvertebrate Resources

A benthic macroinvertebrate is any creature without an inside skeleton that can be seen easily and that lives on the bottom of streams, ponds, lakes, and other water environments. Benthic means “bottom dwelling” and macro means “large enough to see with the naked eye” or with very little assistance. A handheld magnifier would be effective, if needed, but there is no need to haul an expensive microscope around to see them. Invertebrate means “without a backbone.” Macroinvertebrates include:

  • Soft-bodied animals (flatworms, round worms, fly larvae, etc.)
  • Animals with a protective case/shell, whether attached or not (snails, caddisfly larvae, mussels, clams, etc.)
  • Animals with a hard exoskeleton (crayfish, aquatic insect larvae, etc.)

Macroinvertebrate Pictures and Keys

Macroinvertebrate Ecology

Find Out Where to Recycle